According to GMA-7 insiders, the new version of Mars Ravelo's Darna will air its pilot episode on August 10, 2009. Dubbed as Narda, this 2009 version of the beloved komiks will be topbilled by Marian Rivera and Mark Anthony Fernandez. Valentina, the infamous villain in the story, will be portrayed by Iwa Moto. This new GMA-7 series will be directed by Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) previously published a report naming the other cast members of this upcoming fantaserye: these are Nadine Samonte, Isabel Oli, and Ehra Madrigal as the women who will fight Darna; Rita Avila and Jestoni Alarcon as the parents of Narda (the alter-ego of Darna) and Buboy Villar as Ding, the sidekick of Darna.
Janice de Belen is tapped to be the mother of Valentina while Paolo Contis is the father of Valentina, making him the king of the snakes. Celia Rodriguez will have a special role as the woman in charge of the orphanage where Narda grew up.
Completing the cast are Alfred Vargas, Angel Aquino, Bearwin Meily, Margaret Wilson, Caridad Sanchez, Gabby Eigenmann, and Roxanne Barcelo.Last Friday, July 10, Showbiz Central paid a visit to the set location of Narda in Bulacan. Lead stars Marian Rivera and Mark Anthony Fernandez shared their excitement over their first TV project together. For Marian, the long rest she was given before this big project made her excited all the more.
"Actually hindi ako masyado nakatulog," admitted the female actress. "To be honest, talagang sobrang excited ako kasi halos three months nila akong pinagpahinga, e...Ngayon na lang ako bumalik after ng Tadyang [Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang]."
Mark Anthony also revealed that, just like Marian, he didn't sleep much before their first taping day. For him, it was excitement mixed with a little bit of nervousness.
"Everybody has their spirits up dito," said Mark. "Okay din ang location ng set namin ngayon." Although Mark and Marian have seen each other around GMA-7, this is the first time that the two would actually work with each other. What were their first impressions about each other when they first met on the set?
"Ako medyo siyempre nahihiya," volunteered Mark. Then he narrated, "Pagbaba ko ng kotse, kumamay na lang ako kasi hindi ako maka-kiss kasi kakagising ko lang! E, kasi lalapitan ko lang dapat si Direk, e pag daan ni Direk andoon si Marian sa likod. So, hindi na ako naka-kiss at bumati na lang ako."
Marian says that she still needs time to get to know her new leading man. "Kilala ko siya as Mark Anthony," she pointed out, "pero hindi ko siya kilala kung sino talaga siya. Siguro, time will come na makikilala ko siya."
ON BECOMING DARNA. That day, Marian had already shot her first few scenes that took place in an orphanage.
"Ang una kong tinanong is kung magcocostume na ba ako at magda-Darna na ba ako today?" recounted Marian. "Hindi pa daw, so sa Wednesday pa daw ako magda-Darna."
"To be honest, ang una kong labas, e, sa party [trade launch] ng GMA," continued Marian when asked about her thoughts on the costume. "Kinakabahan ako kasi first time ko na mag costume na ang dami-daming tao talaga so sinabi ko na isanay ko din sarili ko kasi hindi ko maiwasan na mag-eksena ako sa labas tapos maraming nanonood. Kinakabahan pa rin pero siyempre pag fight scene na at may mga lines na, e , hindi ko maiisip yun."
Her character Darna is known for swallowing a magical stone that will transform her into a superhero. Has Marian actually seen this prop?
"Hindi ko pa naman nakikita, e," laughed Marian. "Ang importante, ako ang sisigaw ng Darna! Yun ang hiling ko na ibinigay naman nila."
Click HERE to view more photos of Darna during the trade launch of GMA-7.